Energy-dependent, carrier-mediated extrusion of carboxyfluorescein from Saccharomyces cerevisiae allows rapid assessment of cell viability by flow cytometry.

P. Breeuwer, J.L. Drocourt, F.M. Rombouts, T. Abee

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Abstract

Carboxyfluorescein diacetate is a nonfluorescent compound which can be used in combination with flow cytometry for vital staining of yeasts and bacteria. The basis of this method is the assumption that, once inside the cell, carboxyfluorescein diacetate is hydrolyzed by nonspecific esterases to produce the fluorescent carboxyfluorescein (cF). cF is retained by cells with intact membranes (viable cells) and lost by cells with damaged membranes. In this report, we show that Saccharomyces cerevisiae extrudes cF in an energy-dependent manner. This efflux was studied in detail, and several indications that a transport system is involved were found. Efflux of cF was stimulated by the addition of glucose and displayed Michaelis-Menten kinetics. A Km for cF transport of 0.25 mM could be determined. The transport of cF was inhibited by the plasma membrane H(+)-ATPase inhibitors N,N'-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide and diethylstilbestrol and by high concentrations of tetraphenylphosphonium ions. These treatments resulted in a dissipation of the proton motive force, whereas the intracellular ATP concentration remained high. Transport of cF is therefore most probably driven by the membrane potential and/or the pH gradient. The viability of S. cerevisiae was determined by a two-step procedure consisting of loading the cells with cF followed by incubation at 40 degrees C in the presence of glucose. Subsequently, the fluorescence intensity of the cells was analyzed by flow cytometry. The efflux experiments showed an excellent correlation between the viability of S. cerevisiae cells and the ability to translocate cF. This method should prove of general utility for the rapid assessment of yeast vitality and viability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1467-1472
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume60
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1994

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